Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Those Lying Hips…

      This might well be one of my favorite music videos ever, though it bumps the original "star" version which was directed by one of my all time favorite music video directors, the great Sophie Muller. (The Palm Pictures DVD compilation Directors Label Series, having knighted Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Mark Romanek, Chris Cunnigham and a handful of other male music video directors, should really dismantle the boys club and give Ms. Muller her due.) The song/record itself peaked much too soon to be a candidate for song-of-the-summer status, but I admire it for overcoming three huge-ass handicaps:

  1. The prominent placement of an overly familiar sample.
  2. The fact that Shakira has already made this song before.
  3. Wyclef at his corniest.
      What’s so fantastic about the video is that it encapsulates the whole point and much of the beauty of pure pop music. Watching Shakira’s fans mimic her movements, absent self-consciousness but full of playfulness and joy, is to witness the power of pop – the way fans step into the outlines of their idols, accessing or freeing some aspect of themselves in the process. And I love that the belly-dancing, hip-swaying moves are replicated by men (some of whom are so on point it hurts) as well as women, and that like much great art, it collapses boundaries within individuals and between fans until we are all in a place beyond gender, sexual orientation and even race. While those fans/dancers who dazzle you with their technical proficiency might appear to be the stars of the clip, they’re not. It’s all about the slightly off-the-beat folks, the ones with a bit of belly and the jiggly thighs and the smiles that say, “I don’t care about nunna dem imperfections. For three minutes and thirty seconds, I am a star."

1 comment:

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